Cambridge cleans up streams, shorelines to protect Choptank

CAMBRIDGE — Starting April 1, and continuing through Earth Day, April 22, Cambridge and Dorchester County residents and community groups took to streams, shorelines, streets and woodlands along the Choptank River to volunteer to remove debris and litter as a part of the Chesapeake-wide Project Clean Stream.

Started by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Project Clean Stream is a concerted regional effort that engages community members in a hands-on opportunity to improve local water quality through litter pick-up. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) spearheads the effort locally as the Midshore Project Clean Stream coordinator, including the Choptank, Miles and Wye Rivers.

The results of this clean-up provide a snapshot of the amount of trash and debris that, if not removed, could make it into our waterways and degrade local water quality and habitat for fish, crabs and oysters. Approximately 60 volunteers from Cambridge and Dorchester County worked at seven different locations, collecting over 4,475 pounds of trash. The most common items were plastic bottles and bags.

Unusual items included a car exhaust, upholstery, a cell phone, crab pots, televisions, shopping carts, oil drums, car parts and household wall insulation.

This clean-up effort is a great way to build awareness and to encourage the community to get involved in cleaning up debris left behind after winter and before spring showers wash it into the Choptank River.

“Project Clean Stream is an opportunity to create awareness and encourage action,” says Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta. I urge everyone to join this effort, not just in the spring but every day, by not littering and by picking up unsightly trash as you go throughout your day. We all enjoy the outdoors — whether boating on the Choptank River, catching fish off the fishing pier and Long Wharf Park, or shooting hoops in the street. Let’s continue to work together to keep these areas clean and inviting for everyone to enjoy.”

Participating groups included the newly-formed Cambridge Association of Neighborhoods (CAN) cleaning up Long Wharf Park and sections of West End Avenue; Cambridge Multi-Sport cleaning up Great Marsh Park — the site of the Maryland Ironman and Eagleman events; Cambridge Main Street cleaning up Cannery Park at the headwaters of Cambridge Creek and the future site of a stream restoration project; Cambridge Sail and Power Squadron cleaning up Sailwinds Park; Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth and Nanticoke Watershed Alliance cleaning up Vienna; 4H Busy Beavers cleaning up Bill Burton Fishing Pier; and a citizen clean up group in Secretary.

MRC extends its appreciation to the amazing volunteers who gave up a few hours of their time to clean our streams and beautify the rivers of the Eastern Shore. A special thanks also goes to the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County Departments of Public Works for collecting and disposing of the trash.

For more information, contact Suzanne Sullivan at suzanne@midshoreriverkeeper.org or 443-385-0511.

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